Ancient Gannet Fossil Unearthed in Chesapeake Bay

ancient gannet fossil unearthed in chesapeake bay.jpg Science

In a remarkable discovery, scientists have unearthed the nearly complete skeleton of a bird that lived 12 million years ago on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. This finding is especially significant as bird bones rarely fossilize due to their delicate nature. Dr. Stephen Godfrey, from the Calvert Marine Museum, expressed his astonishment at the find, stating that he had never seen such a well-preserved bird skeleton along Calvert Cliffs. This discovery will provide valuable insights into the ancient ecosystem of the bay, shedding light on life millions of years ago.

The Chesapeake Bay’s western shore boasts a stretch of cliffs spanning 20 miles, which have proven to be a treasure trove of fossils from the Miocene era. This recent finding adds to an impressive collection at the Calvert Marine Museum, which houses numerous fossils from the bay. It follows other notable discoveries, including a 15-million-year-old dolphin skull and a megalodon tooth, found by a volunteer and a young girl respectively. With the bird skeleton now part of the museum’s permanent collection, it will soon be displayed, allowing the public to marvel at this extraordinary and rare find.


Rare 12-Million-Year-Old Bird Skeleton Found on Chesapeake Bay Shores

Scientists are excited about the recent discovery of a nearly intact 12-million-year-old bird skeleton on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. This remarkable find is a gannet, a species of large seabird that still nests along the Chesapeake today. Bird bones are typically too delicate to fossilize, making this discovery exceedingly rare.

Dr. Stephen Godfrey, a researcher at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons Island, expressed his amazement at the find, stating, "I’ve never seen such a complete bird skeleton found along Calvert Cliffs." The discovery is a significant one, as it will provide valuable insights into the life and ecology of the bay millions of years ago.

The bird skeleton will be added to the museum’s permanent collection and preserved for future study. Dr. Godfrey mentioned that it will likely be put on display for the public to appreciate. This find is just one of many fossils that have been discovered along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, which boasts approximately 20 miles of cliffs dating back to the Miocene era.

Interestingly, this is not the first significant fossil discovery made along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Earlier this year, a volunteer at the Calvert Marine Museum found a 15-million-year-old dolphin skull, and a young girl found a 15-million-year-old megalodon tooth at Calvert Cliffs State Park. The Calvert Marine Museum is a treasure trove of fossils from the bay and is open daily for visitors to explore.

The discovery of the 12-million-year-old bird skeleton is an exciting development for scientists studying the history of the Chesapeake Bay. By analyzing the bones and studying the environment in which the bird lived, researchers will gain a better understanding of how this area has changed over millions of years. This find highlights the importance of preserving and studying fossils, as they provide invaluable insights into our planet’s past.

Takeaways:

  • The discovery of a nearly intact 12-million-year-old bird skeleton on the Chesapeake Bay shores is a rare find.
  • Bird bones are typically too delicate to fossilize, making this discovery significant for scientists studying the bay’s history.
  • The bird skeleton will be added to the Calvert Marine Museum’s collection and likely put on display for the public.
  • The Chesapeake Bay’s cliffs hold fossils dating back to the Miocene era and have yielded other significant finds, such as a dolphin skull and a megalodon tooth.
  • Fossils provide valuable insights into the past and help scientists understand how environments have changed over millions of years.
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